Thursday, April 4, 2013

04/04 Arlene Martel, The Wild Wild West, Star Trek, Battlestar Gallactica

Arlene Martel has performed in a great many productions in her career, ranging from the character of "Consuela" in the Outer Limits episode "Demon With A Glass Hand", to a red-haired Irish wench who held was captive on Battlestar Gallactica, to the flawlessly logical "T'Pring" in the Star Trek episode Amok Time. Yet in each of these roles, as well as many others, her physical appearance is so completely different that many people may not realize that each character is played by the same actress.  Arlene's ability to make such transformations earned her the nickname "The Chameleon" while working at Universal Studios. She is often unrecognizable not only by virtue of her looks, but by her name as well. Her earliest work was done as Arline Sax, which changed shortly after to Arlene Martel.

Until the age of eight the Bronx ghetto was her domain. There Arlene's playground was an empty lot filled with broken glass where she regularly played, allowing her imagination to take her places she could only dream of at the time. Then, after her mother's millionaire boss saw the conditions of his employee and her gifted child, he appointed himself benefactor, and had her whisked out of the ghetto and into a very posh boarding school in Connecticut, where her creativity both in acting and writing was recognized and encouraged.

For Arlene, the desire to act came early in life, yet the degree of interest remained unknown until her teenage years. "At the age of twelve, without my mothers knowledge or consent., I auditioned for the high school of the Performing Arts (the school the movie "Fame" was written about.). Upon graduating I was awarded the school's drama award, it's highest honor. One or her teachers there was  Sidney Lumet, who has since become a renowned director ("Serpico", "Twelve Angry Men")." I still retain some of those deeply bonded, early friendships from those inspiring years." In her late teens she auditioned for and won the part of "Esther" in "Uncle Willie" which ran for five months on Broadway.

After moving west, Arlene had an active career in television, appearing on such series as "Columbo", "I Dream of Jeannie", "Bewitched", the classic "Twilight Zone" (amongst sixty-five others and, of course, Star Trek as Spock's Vulcan wife "T'Pring" who challenges Kirk to fight to the death for her.

"The primary lesson for me on Amok Time was a lesson in K.I.S.S. ("Keep It Simple, Stupid"). Our director Joe Pevney, contrary to what most directors usually request of the actor, said "give me less, give me less". Previous to that, most of the women I played had been highly charged with emotion. Playing a character as emotionally controlled as "T'Pring" was certainly a first for me. It was a welcome challenge," she continues. "Controlling my energy was a very wonderful discipline, and playing a person who was ruled by logic was also a new experience. Now, hopefully, I've integrated both, but at the time it was my first professional encounter with an analytical and objective being."

"Amok Time" wasn't her first encounter with Star Trek. "Originally there was interest in me for the pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" but I simply could not wear the contact lenses required for the part. She was also considered for the role in "Catspaw" "I was disappointed  in not getting the part, but there are blessings in some losses.

At this point in her life, Arlene is entering a new period of great energy and creativity. She is acting, writing and producing.


The Hollywood Show is the best known autograph show in the Hollywood area. It is held four times a year in Burbank, with actors, writers, performers, collectors and celebrities coming together to meet fans and autograph pictures and merchandise.  The Hollywood Show will be held at the The Westin Los Angeles Airport: 5400 W Century Blvd Los Angeles, CA, 90045. For a full list of the attending celebrities and ticketing info go to !

No comments:

Post a Comment